Shopping with soul: The importance of sustainability to craft market

Sustainability is something that is becoming increasingly and urgently important for customers to consider when they are making buying choices.  At Crafty Fox Market, we’re proud to say that many of our Shopping With Soul members have either founded their creative businesses on sustainable principles, or have adapted their working practices to be more environmentally minded as their products have progressed.

Meet four of our sustainable Shopping with Soul members:

Erin Plant, Too Many Pjs 

I create toys and interiors products for families. I do this sustainably by only using organic cotton and vintage fabrics to create bedding, sensory play-mats and sensory alphabet blocks.

I started out using scraps of fabric I had designed in my fashion textiles career to make patchwork sensory play mats, so it was sustainable from the beginning. The products I make evolved over time, as did my policy to use only organic cotton. I have also started using all eco-friendly packaging- which wasn’t something I had originally considered. 

It is a challenge to find a diverse range of fabrics to create the sensory toys with. There are some things I would like to use for their texture, but I won’t unless they meet the right criteria. Prices are also higher for organic materials so it is challenging to keep prices down for my customers, but knowing that families who use my products will not be contributing to the environmental and social issues that the textile industry cause is very fulfilling.

Jo Mortensen, Joji Skin Care

I founded Joji as a force for good in the beauty industry. Our nine skin care products are full of the highest quality organic, Fairtrade and cruelty-free raw materials. Joji embodies progressive environmental thinking. This means sustainability throughout the entire company, from formulation to sourcing, production, packaging, transportation, and even waste.

I think of Joji as a sustainability company, operating in the skin care realm. The environment was my primary motivation and will always remain at the heart of our operations. My days are spent improving the environmental performance of Ealing, a local authority in London, so I very much live and breathe the concept of ensuring we act in a way that gives future generations the opportunity to enjoy the planet.

Our ambition to launch a true refill programme, with a take back and re-use component, is going to take a lot of planning and testing. Once we’ve cracked refills, I think this opens us up to an even greater audience – there is a huge movement of zero wasters, and we want to be their solution.

 

Melodie Telliez, SlinkyLinks Jewellery

I started my business SlinkyLinks in 2013 after working in the footwear industry for a few years.

I make jewellery using 100% reclaimed leather. The idea came from my previous job, where I noticed how many pieces of perfectly good leather were going to waste in the process of making shoes. After a year working there, I just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to find a way to reuse all these scraps. That’s how SlinkyLinks was born- I now use leather cast-offs to create beautiful and unique pieces of jewellery.

I love the idea that you can make something beautiful out of what other people consider rubbish. Using reclaimed materials in my designs is my way of creating something new while staying in line with my values and beliefs.

I’ve also done a lot of research on my packaging, which is now recycled. I use recycled bubble wrap and biodegradable loosefill to fill my boxes and prevent any breakage in transport.

It’s hard to run a product-based business when you believe that we all need to consume less, but I feel that by using reclaimed leather, what I’m doing is reducing waste a little and turning the ugly into something beautiful.

Sarah Bonner, Bon Design

I create handmade, highly detailed prints and ceramics, which take inspiration from nature and the outdoors. Painting and creating pottery is a method of mindfulness, each piece is created with a sense of peacefulness- a beautiful addition to the contemporary home.

My work is sustainable, with each piece being ethically sourced; my designs are printed on recycled high-quality paper and packaged in a biodegradable sleeve.  The ceramics are made from an earthenware clay; which takes less energy to fire, and hand-painted with lead-free slips and glazes.

My ceramics have always been sustainable in the way that they are made; there is so little wastage in making ceramics, as you can recycle and re-use the leftover clay.

Being more sustainable affects business; my margins are higher with my prints being on recycled paper, for example. However, to be environmentally conscious is the only way I want to be.

Find out more about Crafty Fox Market on their website, and check out the Shopping with Soul community here.

Meet the author

IPSE
IPSE is the leading association for contractors, consultants, interims, freelancers and the self-employed. We strive to bring our members the most comprehensive and useful range of information and services and all the latest news about what affects your business.